I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

4 January 2009


At last I begin to see
what people have told me
all my life: I have
unusually fine skin
and it’s beautiful.

‘Like a baby,’ said Istiarini
that woman in Bali who,
in love with my husband Bill,
gave me a facial to impress him
and perhaps to placate me. Not
that either was necessary; she
had already won him (briefly).

And Graeme, my lover
in my thirties, said it:
‘I’ve always thought
you have a beautiful skin.’
Which surprised me, I never
viewed it as an asset.

Kellie now, who became
wife to my son David, hers
is beautiful skin – creamy
against the dark
sheen of her hair and
those great big, luminous eyes.
It looks as if the texture
is almost waxy, but
I suppose it must be soft.
Unblemished skin.

Not like mine
covered in tiny freckles
and the insect bites
that turn into welts
and then scabs.
All the stinging insects
love my sweet blood,
sucking it easily through
my very fine skin.

And pale too, always
embarrassing in this land
of suntanned bodies. I
burn, which is painful
and dangerous, therefore I stay
chalk-white for years;
how eccentric.

So I have always thought,
yet today I notice
my breasts are like snow
as I look down on them,
snowy mounds
that I stroke very gently
with fingertips,
not to bruise or redden
their fine, impossibly fine
skin, even finer than
close-woven lawn
or than silk, though not
silk-slippery, just
perfectly smooth.

Not hard at all but not
unduly soft, more plump
as when I pat my face
my cheeks are too:
as if underneath the skin
is firm, fleshy fruit
only just ripened, that gives
to the touch, then bounces
back into place, into shape,
with the spring of youth.

What fruit?
Apples are firm
but not so giving.
A pear on the other hand
is not resilient, would squash.
Perhaps a peach? Too juicy.
An apricot or a plum?
Apricot, yes,
for the flesh – but not even
the skin of a soft apricot
is so fine as my skin
or so smooth. Not even
the skin of a plum.